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Prototype NationChina and the Contested Promise of Innovation$
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Silvia M. Lindtner

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691207674

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691207674.001.0001

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Incubating Human Capital

Incubating Human Capital

Market Devices of Finance Capitalism

(p.118) 4 Incubating Human Capital
Prototype Nation

Silvia M. Lindtner

Princeton University Press

This chapter documents how the venture capital system captures yearnings for technological alternatives. It follows the workings of a foreign-funded hardware incubator program in Shenzhen that trained people to translate their commitments to social justice into a pitch for finance capital. The incubator program taught people how to see themselves as human capital. Human capital, political theorist Wendy Brown suggests, “is the next step of homo oeconomicus as a neoliberal agent that seeks to strengthen his/her competitive positioning. Neoliberal rationality remakes the human being as human capital.” The chapter then shows that the turning of the self into human capital is all but an inevitable outcome of neoliberal capitalism but has to be actively taught and learned.

Keywords:   venture capital system, technological alternatives, hardware incubator program, Shenzhen, finance capitalism, human capital, neoliberal capitalism

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